When I pick my daughter up after 4 hours of kindergarten, I can always count on her asking “Are we going on a date? are we going to go out to eat?” Without fail she asks every day, and forgets that we typically go out every other week. She’s not famished because we’ve sent her to school with a lunch box full of goodies.
In this common scenario I opt for a quick and cheap meal, something easy. There’s a difficult task ahead of me. I have to feed my offspring with fine ingredients, all the while keeping a keen eye on my pockets.
One of my go to plans was a quick trip to Whole Foods Market. She chose the hot bar, the place where any dream can come to life. The keys to many treasures lay in this world of herbs, spices, and flavors from around the world.
Even though we’ve been diligent in feeding her healthy foods, my daughter’s refined palate led her directly to the mac and cheese. Little kids will kill for grilled cheese sandwiches, cotton candy and mac and cheese. I went with a cold weather favorite, chili and corn bread.
This special moment wasn’t about food, or healthy sustenance. At it’s essence this lunch date had implications for the future. I think its important to make time for, and create conversation with, these little people. Hopefully she will carry these memories well into adulthood .
Not too long ago, I made the decision to begin meeting my wife and daughter at a deeper heart level. I had learned alot about myself through my wife, and I also learned to better relate to my more emotional counterpart. I learned to gain trust and grow relationship at a table of food. My wife and I gave each other permission to ask questions, give advice, and laugh at the embarrassing events of the day.
The same was true with my daughter. She looked forward to these moments because she finally had me all to herself. There’s no project deadline taking my attention, there’s no email or iphone app that is more important than this sacred time.
Children are a complex creature, sensing when they are wanted, loved, and cherished. Without this, they are left eagerly grasping for something grounded and safe. The last thing I ever want is for her is to wonder if she can be accepted for who she is, or if she is worthy of love and respect.
My job as a father is never easy and simple and it’s never a hard and daunting task. It’s one of life’s perfect dances, almost indescribable by human words.
Fathers and mothers, dare to love. Dare to love in the moment for a better future. For its in these moments that we will remember why we gave up our former lives for this joyous and sacred parenthood.